During the days when refrigeration was unknown, Filipinos guarded against food spoilage by salting and drying their fish and meat. Hence, the “invention” of the tapa (dried beef) and daing (dried fish).
Cebu City is famous for its Tabo-an Market where mounds and mounds of dried fish are sold. Truth is, dried fish is available in all public markets and even in supermarkets. Still, there is nothing like visiting a dried fish market where the variety of dried fish is so many that one can’t decide where to start — and stop — buying.
The following photos were taken by my husband at the Roxas City dried fish market.
Our friend, PJ Juinio (in white top) at whose parents’ house we stayed in Roxas City, checks out the dried fish in the market.
Dried shrimps, popularly known as hibe, are often used to flavor noodle dishes and stews.
Looks like dilis to me.
Larger varieties of fish are often butterflied to facilitate drying.
I like the way these dried fish had been arranged in the basket.
It might be dilis or small asohos.
Shellfish like mussels, oysters and clams are preserved with brine in tightly covered bottles.
While there are “standard” prices, if you’re a tourist, it isn’t uncommon for vendors to quote a higher price. And they are good at spotting tourists. So, visit as many stalls as you can and compare the prices before buying.
An employee packs the dried fish in individual plastic bags.
In determining how many pieces of fish should go into a bag, it isn’t just the number that’s important but the total weight of the fish.
Nothing goes to waste. These dried fish bones are great for making fish stock.
Dried fish are available pre-packed or you can specify the exact amount to require and th vendor will weigh them for you.